EBNA Hears Licensing Proposals; History of South End News from Alison Barnet

The East Berkeley Neighborhood Association (EBNA) met virtually on May 3 to discuss a liquor license request at The Quinn/The Harris, as well as a new retail tenant in the same building. The group also heard from South End resident and author Alison Barnet as she discussed the history of the South End News, which she was once the editor of.

After a public safety report from Boston Police D-4 Captain Steven Sweeney, Demetri Tsolakis, owner of Greek restaurants GreCo and Krasi, talked about a liquor license request for his new Greek restaurant concept set to open in the summer of next year.

The restaurant will be located in The Quinn/The Harris building, and will feature about 120 indoor seats with a proposed patio of 40 seats, he said.

He said the team is seeking a full liquor license as “we really want to introduce Greek spirits and a Greek wine program.”

Dinner service is expected to be from about 5pm to 10:30 or 11pm from Monday through Sunday, and weekend brunch will be served from 10am-3pm.

The outdoor seating will share a courtyard with the entrance to the Quinn, and will be “partially in the front, and partially in the courtyard,” Tsolakis said.

Right now, the restaurant has an anticipated opening of late summer of next year. “There’s just a lot of delays right now with the equipment,” he said, but this “gives us more time to really do this right and build up the anticipation for it.”

Instead of appetizers and entrees, the menu will feature all small plates, ranging in price from $6-$22, Tsolakis said. He said this small plate structure “goes well with somewhere that serves liquor.”

While the restaurant will not be offering delivery of its food, deliveries to the restaurant will go to the loading dock in the back of the building, and “won’t interfere with any of the traffic on Harrison [Ave.],” he said.

Additionally, Will Grosvenor of Related Beal spoke about a new retail space coming to The Quinn, called One Medical. He called this “more of a modern take on a medical office,” and that it is “very sort of technologically advanced.

People pay for a membership, and then procedures are covered by the individual’s medical insurance. One Medical is not an urgent care clinic, but rather “sort of the alternative” to a primary care physician, Grosvenor said. There will be two “flexible” parking spots that can be used for staff or patients, and even “some ability for Demetri [Tsolakis]” to use the spaces, he said.

Proposed hours of operation are 10am-7pm.

Alison Barnet

South End resident, historian, and author Alison Barnet has written several books about South End history, and was the former editor of the South End News. She dropped into the EBNA meeting to discuss the history of the South End News.

She first spoke about some of the South End News’ predecessors, including the East Springfield Gazette, which she described as a “small Xerox sheet” that “served one block” of the neighborhood from May 1978 to early 1980.

Another one was The Beck, which was “based on the city’s neighborhood cleanup,” she said, and featured sections like “Neck After Dark”—the art section, “Neck to Neck”—the sports section, and “Pain in the Neck”—a medical column.

The first issue of the South End News was published on Feb. 15, 1980, and was published by Skip Rosenthal and edited by Barnet. It featured arts and history columns, and nearly every article written by Barnet herself. “I had no byline,” she said, “because Skip thought it would be funny for all the stories to have my name on them.”

A few front page articles included “Digital’s new Crosstown plan,” Barnet said, as well as “Court to rule on condo eviction.”

She also spoke about some folks who worked on the paper over the years, including Dick Card of the South End Historical Society, Cyndi Koebert, who was a columnist, “though her name never appeared” in the paper, Barnet said, and Officer John Sacco who wrote a police report.

Frank Leopold had an interest in the arts and wrote a column about that, David Adlerstein had just graduated college and was working several part-time jobs and was “fascinated with old South End-types,” she said, and Lynne Potts is the “only early South End News writer who still lives in the South End.”

Writers wrote for $5 an article—“$10 for something really big,” Barnet said, and photographers earned $5 per photo.

Rosenthal got an office for the paper at 1515 Washington St., after it had been put together at home. The paper was eventually sold to James Hoover in 1985.

Barnet also showed some photos from those days, and her books on various aspects of  South End history are available at Gifted at 2 Dartmouth St.

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